I get that racism is a blight that we, as Americans, need to address and eliminate. I accept that, as a white person, I have a duty to work on my own biases and, in some way, help others discover and overcome theirs. I even get that any time there is change, the pendulum swings the other way before it settles.
What I don’t get, and what I think is grossly unfair, is the way people are rejecting and punishing every person who ever did something offensive in the past. What I don’t get is the politically correct quasi-political leaders who want immediate punishment for yesterday’s behaviors – behaviors that were offensive – without looking at the person he/she has become. Though incorrect today, sometimes the decisions made or actions taken in the past did not seem inappropriate at the time.
The latest victim of this way of thinking is Judge Craig Doran. Now, I don’t know Judge Doran and I have nothing to gain or lose by the recent news in his regard. But, this appears to be a man respected for the positive efforts he himself has made in his community in regard to racism and discrimination. Unless someone can point to specific motives of racism that caused Doran to act the way he did at a Halloween masquerade, let the evidence of the rest of his life be proof of his current disposition. For heaven’s sake, the man appears to be doing exactly what is being demanded. Shouldn’t the community be defending him as an example of what works?
I believe in the work being done by sincere people from all races and cultures to end racism and discrimination. While fighting for justice, should we not also find balance so that people who have made our community what it is today can continue to be honored? People (past and present) are being damned today for things – bad things that should not have occurred – even though the culture of the time did not fully recognize the offense. Must we damn all of our historical heroes? Can we not simply point out their errors but continue to honor and respect the good they did?
There will always be those who push for change and, in the case of racism and discrimination, change is very necessary. But leaders need to weigh their decisions carefully before taking action. When all is said and done, don’t let the sins of the past overlook the efforts of the here and now to bring fairness to all.